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tv   NOW With Alex Wagner  MSNBC  February 22, 2012 9:00am-10:00am PST

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>> two things you cannot escape in this republican race, sat an and taxes, the gop contenders are sharing thoughts on both, this is "now." joining me today, rolling stone editor p eric bates, and maggie haberman of politico and mr. sunday morning himself, hugo. mitt romney is preparing to give a major economic speech unveiling his tax plan and a new poll shows santorum with a nine-point lead over romney nationally. maggie, we have so many polls to go through, we will start -- >> so little time. >> exactly. people are frothing at the nouth for da -- mouth for data. there's a poll showing romney at
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37% in michigan and santorum at 35%, a little different from last week when we saw another poll that the detroit news showing santorum up 34 and romney at 30. there's a margin of error with all of it of course. to me, it says, horse race is on but not as bad for mitt romney as we may have thought a couple of days ago. >> i think that romney's people are feeling it's stabilized and the trend is going in the right direction, things are good and our ground became will make it up for us. considering we have one. and santorum doesn't, the ground game is silly in politics, you have to have people to bring to the polls who want to vote for you, so that is the big question here, i think for romney there's a margin question, i think he has a problem, it's not fair, 53 wins by fewer than five points it will not be fretreated credi
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by the media. >> he has to win, how much does he have to win by and when can he put this away over and over and over again. in some ways we could replay the tape from this program, because this is the repeated question for romney. there's a debate tonight, they will be seated around a table. and we saw it in new hampshire, and i tried to remember what it was like and somebody reminded me it was boring. fewer candidates and that help santorum or romney? >> i think it's bad for all of them. the more intimate and the more up close, it will be scary. >> i'm expecting something fun from gingrich. he probably knows he needs to change the conversation somehow, he needs to in a sense make
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news, and he is excellent at that. i would go to three or four gingrich events in a day, and he always said something different, his willingness to say something unexpected is our best hope for an entertaining night. >> i was at a hispanic town hall and he was talking about swedish oil prices in new hampshire. >> do they have special prices for oil? >> it's funny that you mention gingrich and his unpredictability. he will be airing a 30 minute energy policy speech in select cities before super tuesday, it's that. it's 30 minutes of newt gingrich looking directly into the camera. >> is this like an imax thing. >> they sell glasses. >> this is violating your theory of being entertaining tonight,
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what if he does that? >> we should put this in the broader context of what is going on in the race. santorum is talking about satan and gingrich is doing a straight to camera policy speech. does this help gingrich? >> newt is looking for any kind of toe hold the stay in there, you know no, that is why he will go off tonight. he has to. the more his numbers sink, the more he has to try to get back in the spotlight again, he is being considered irrelevant. >> is post flail. >> that is a hash tag right there. >> not for the first time. being the front-runner does not suit him well. nobody is going to watch a 30 minute -- look this was the king
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of bain thing. nobody is going to watch a 30 minute video. 60 minutes these days pushes it with some viewers, it's a way to use the campaign money and look like they are getting back to policy and something difference. this will not advance the ball. he needs to use the debates. this could be the last debate in the gop race. >> tears. i do not want that to be the case. >> they have not all committed to anything else going forward, three of them decided not to do the march 1st debate. >> i think to be mean to gingrich. >> certainly that was part of it. in terms of santorum and satan, to be fair, it's not like he wanted to talk about satan. he was respondsing to questions about it, when you are running for president, anything is fair game, you will get asked about anything that you ever said.
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it was four years ago not 40, and so he will have to answer it. is it the only thing that people should focus on? no, but is it legitimate to ask about, of course? >> it's tell whg yen you open u your new york times and a paragraph begins pressure to respond as to whether satan would attack america, like this is now part of the national dialog. i want to play sound from rus y limb law who is making the same point. >> it's part of the predictable attempt to impune santorum as an absolutely religious nut and whacko. but he did say these things. and he is going have to have an answer for these things when asked. >> are you a person of faith? >> i believe in good and evil. i think -- if somehow or another
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you are a person of faith and you believe in good and evil -- >> that was santorum's response to rush limbaugh. it's as if he did not learn the whole access of evil thing did not go down so well with the american public as sort of phraseiology, santorum said that you want a president that can distinguish the difference between good and evil. what do you think? >> i love coffee, and i'm obsessed with coffee, and i'll hear people talk about coffee and i say, don't talk about it. but then i can't help myself, and you see something like that with santorum. he is like i really should not be talking about this, but since you bring it up, you are wrong about this and i should point out what i believe. >> i'm not sure that is right, though, i think this is his issue. his words here -- satan is a
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tough one. you do not want to explain that exactly. but the idea of good and evil and stuff, this is the essence of santorum,s in not something he can run away from, this is what he has to embrace. >> in 2005 in the new york times magazine cover story, even then he was saying don't make this all about my religious views, i'm nor th-- i'm more than the social conservative candidate. and he ends up talking about what he does not want to talk b. >> satan is a buzz word. >> i do not want to talk about satan. >> below the use of the world satan was a debate going on, it's who is a christian and who is not, it's long running debate dating back to christ and it's very deeply held. so, what you have is appealing
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back of the curtain on that debate what is important that it forms all of his views on jobs and social issues, it's not something that you can say do not characterize that dpsh. >> except when he said it does not inform him on birth control. i do not think that contraception is a good thing, but it will not effect my being president. we are going to break but the president is going to unveil the tax break on the same day that mitt romney is talking about his tax plan. is it just coincidence? we will compare the plans with john harwood when he joins us live, next on "now." [ male announcer ] is zero worth nothing? ♪ imagine zero pollutants in our environment. or zero dependency on foreign oil. ♪
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>> you are looking live at mitt romney in chandler, arizona, he is about to outline his plan of the tax code in a speech ahead of tonight's debate. joining me now is john harwood, john, thanks for joining us. >> mitt romney has been under pressure to outline a more aggressive approach to tax policy, he is doing that today in advance of the debate. propose ago 20% cut in all of the income tax brackets, meaning the top rate would go from 35% under current law to 28% and that is the rate it was when ronald reagan pushed through tax reform in the 1980s, he said it would not increase the deficit because he will have one, economic growth produced by lower rates and two, he will propose spending cuts and we will get more detail on that in coming days and he will reduce
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the amount of deductions and loopholes in the code, however those are unpopular to eliminate and he is not specifying which ones and although glenn hubbard said that they would fall dispro portionately. >> we know that mitt -- president obama released his own plan to release corporate tax rates today, how much of it is political tit for at that time? >> the president said he would have a plan to reduce taxes. and mitt romney is under pressure to release it so he is doing that now. president obama's treasury department which was considering for a long time, a corporate tax reform plan got the jump on him by releasing their's this morning. and so romney releases it today. so it happen on the same day.
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so all year long, we will see move and counter move, and mitt romney is trying as much to counter rick santorum as he is to counter president obama. he has a problem with rick santorum. >> and gingrich will rewind time to present a tax plan last week, just to get a jump on all of them. i'm of course kidding, about but is the ford field event still schedul scheduled? >> yes, and newt gingrich is proposing a flat tax and accused romney of being too timid. and that is what others are feeling, he does not want to be portrayed as herman cain as cutting taxes too much for the rich. romney has been hesitating to take that step until now, bit is
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feeling the -- but he is feeling the heat from santorum and hoping to get past this moment. >> can i call you scoop harwood? you have the scoop on everything financial. >> you can call me scoop any time you want. >> thank you for joining the program. >> you bet. >> i want to bring you guys in here as we talk about tax plans and fiscal concerns. does this change the narrative? is it -- the set is breaking. is it good, we heard from john that it's a political chess. does this help romney getting back to substantive matters? >> this is where prom any needs to be. this is where he needs to be. he has more credibility on this then his opponents and this is where he needs to put the conversation. it's a question of whether it sticks. you start saying, what is the tax bracket and what are the percentages? a lot of people have the same idea, even on the left, lower the rates and reduce the
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reductions and get people to pay more equally. it will all sound the same for voters. >> and coming in advance of tonight's debate, it's not a economically themed debate, i do not think it will be a game changer going into the event tonight. i think it will get drowned out. this is something that his supporters have been asking him to do, something bold. it's not not sort of making proposals, it's how you do it and how you sell it. that is the problem for i am, it's wise for him, because he is more comfortable running as if he is the nominee, and it's clearly his sweet spot, whether it works or not, we will see, he is more comfortable with the head to head. >> it's good counter point, if you have santorum and the subject is satan, doesn't matter the details, it's -- >> the details that matters is
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more simple is something that everything is for. and that is often used as a cover to hide other agendas. >> let's us not forget 9-9-9. >> write. there will be a close analysis of who pays under the plan. >> and the point of economic growth that will happen. budding bromance are romney and ron paul forming an alliance or something deeper and why, we will have that next. farmer who.
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joe may have your back, but johan has your feet. gevalia. meet me in the coffee aisle. who says opponents can not be friends? lately we have seen a relationship forming between ron paul and mitt romney. >> not too long ago, he was take enout of context that he liked
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to fire people, which was completely out of context, so until i look at that, i give him the benefit of the doubt. >> my opponents, dwael, i tip my hat to ron paul, he is one of those that says don't keep on spending too much, and he is willing to cut spending. >> i think he would certainly have a more, you know, acceptable management style when you consider what i have seen and experience from the other two candidates. >> if we have someone who spent most of their life in washington, we have three on the stage, i take that back, we have a doctor to stage. >> joining us now is jessie ben ton, thanks for joining the program. >> hey, nice to see you again. >> jessie, let me ask, there seems to be a lot of positive vibrations between your camp and the mitt romney camp, and yet, the two candidates have pretty
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different position on a lot of things from foreign policy to financial policies, do you think that ron paul's support eers wi go to another candidate, say, mitt romney? >> i think that is largely up to romney and how he wants to embrace them, if he talks to our supporters and talks about being open to talking about the federal reserve and cuts in spendsing, there's a chance they could come his way, that is premature, we are accumulating delegates and we are running hard and we see a strong path to nomination for dr. paul. >> i want to bring in the panel on this. you can see from the sound we played, there's love, there's good vibrations, maybe not love. i wonder to what degree you
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think this helps either candidate, the, you know, having ron paul in his corner? >> i think it helps them in different ways and it helps rand paul and i think that ron paul's campaign would never say that, but i think that rand paul is someone who is seen as having a national future and whatever his father can do to help him with that comes into play here. what was obvious early on in the debates last year is that ron paul was deflecting the shots coming at mitt romney. it was noticeable. two candidates would attack, and then it would get to ron paul and he would shift it. and that was the beginning of this. that has been an advantage for romney and both camps decided not to be a part of the debate, and that is why a debate did not take place. ron paul is trying ensure that
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his party's message is heard. >> mitt romney is building a tent though. so who knows what is under there. jessie. i want to ask you, we know that romney offered his plane and summer home to ron paul, the who wives are quite close. when did this relationship begin? >> they have been two ships that passed in the night for about five years running for president, they talked on and off and they are friendly and have built a mutual respect. >> that sounds very nice. >> this is hugo, jessie, your candidate referred to the cooperation between his candidacy and romney, what does he mean by that? how do rifles cooperate? >> a lot of it comes down to scheduling, both of our campaigns had places, specific places that we wanted our candidates to be on march first, and they were not georgia, we
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talked it out and said, let's present a united front and make sure the candidates can get to where they need to be rather than being at the debate in georgia. >> you have a wonderful piece out in the new yorker on dr. paul this week, and one of this notions you explores the remnant. he likes to call himself a keeper of the old age. it's a network of enlightened souls capable of transforming civilization. we talk about santorum and the rhetoric around christianity, ron paul feels he has a mission here and the mission may almost eeclipse the candidacy in some respects. >> and it's funny, they talk about a similar way, when santorum talks about america as this great experiment that comes under threat from satan, ron paul has kind of a secular version of that, where he has america as a democratic
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experiment and it's free, it geget s wealthy and then you have to start all over again. there's very much even in ron paul a kind of almost spiritual narrative of decedence and rebirth that he feels needs to happen. >> we want to hear more of that, we will expect to hear more from your candidate tonight at the debate and thank you for joining us. we hope to have you back to the program soon. coming up, will immigration come to the forefront during tonight's debate in arizona and will we learn more about where the candidates stand on the issue? wanna know the difference between a trader and an elite trader? it's this... the etrade pro platform. fast. beautiful. totally customizable. finds top performing stocks -- in three clicks. quickly scans the market for new trading ideas.
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your dna is different than the dna of those that stayed behind, i know, my grandfather came to this country and brought my dad as a boy. >> that was rick santorum playing up his immigrant roots, he gave that meeting after meeting with the sheriff that was targeting and arresting people he felt were illegal i m immigrants. the sheriff is maintaining that all the candidates want his endorsement. he is being investigated for unconstitutional policing, he has targeted latino drivers and created a tent city for inmates. you know, in previous -- in throughout the race, we have
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wat watch today difficult line -- watched the difficult line that the folks have to straddle for the message in the primary and for the general. how much does getting the endorsement of one of these folks in the primary ultimately hurt you in the general election, presuming you are the nominee? >> it can be hurtful, but it depends to fuller picture, you cannot treat the hispanic voting block as a block nationally. there are certain specific concerns. i think the bigger issue for mitt romney has been his language for immigration, and that can hurt him in a general election. this was an area where newt gingrich is doing better. it did not play out well for him in familiar. i think it's a mixed bag. it's hard to make someone else own someone else's statements if that is the case, romney will have to do things that trump said, and santorum will have to
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talk about the birth certificate investigation. >> i forgot to mention that. the sheriff will release proof whether the president is born in america. >> i think he is grateful. i think you are right. he is like, cool guys run with this. enjoy. >> you know, hugo, what is interesting, the poll out today shows that among likely republican voters would you be more likely to vote for immigration law? and 20% said that they would support someone who supports the immigration law that the supreme court is discussing right now. you have romney using words illegals and magnets and that seemed deviceive and yet it's a
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rallying cry for others in the party. it's worth unpacking where these folks stand. romney opposes the dream act. and he opposes allowing undocument bd i-- gingrich supports unmanned missions over the border and but he will allow some to stay. >> but spriurprisingly, you kno ron paul has come out as a candidate that called out the sharp rhetoric around hispanics, and likened it to scapegoating and if you talk about a general election, in some ways may be best positioned. >> made a speech about nazi germany in las vegas and he said also that the immigrants that gained legal status should
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programs have to wait 18 years to vote, because that is how long it takes people born in america to vote. >> that is weird. >> it's a complicated issue, the president, he is kind of trying to walk both sides too. it's misleading to imagine that you can have a republican candidate that can make soothing noises about immigration and then win over the latino vote. >> we are not talking soothing noises we are talking about policies that are in place in arizona that are being looked at by the supreme court, we are talking about the governor of arizona greeting the president of if united states on the tarmac and waiving her finger at him and then t-shirts being made of that imagine and being sold at republican rallies, there's a real divide on this issue. >> i support politicians yelling at other politicians even on tarmacs. >> like the tax code, it's not
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an issue that is a driver for most people, but it has consequences for real people because we are in the middle of a massive campaign of civil rights violations that has largely gone unsettled, and they have not been able to put an end to it. you have immigrants whose lives are, politicliterally in arizon are afraid to come out at night because they will be nabbed so it's a very serious issue but one that never registers with voters as a primary driver. when people say they are more like toll to vote for people who support the immigration law, it's not really something that is concrete. >> it did not move any votes. it's largely rhetoric. but one, in a time of economic
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unrest, i think that people get more phobic and they reach for it and number two there's dissatisfaction with the president in the hispanic community with immigration reform. that is the concern with did rhetoric, that it is making it harder with the key swing group. >> is run being hiend potential opponents in arizona but the white house or the obama campaign is suggesting to make a play for arizona in 2012 because they think they can win more votes given the nature of the debate over immigration thus far. after the break, the national cochairs are announced, but there's notable absences from the long list, we will look at that and where the current stands with his base next on "now." the employee of the month is...
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>> president obama released the names of his 35 campaign cochairs, the list includes caroline kennedy and rom p rahm emanual and actors cal penn, noticeably absent, george soros. let's talk about firing up the base. there was a great piece in the new yorker discussing the soros question and how he has largely stayed on the sideline, it's contended that he is angry about the super pacs and does not want to participate in it and also that the president has not done enough in his first four years.
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soros has not been invited to the white house. >> there's been a lot of white house drama. i wonder, as we talk about the president and going forward in 2012, unfinished business and so on and so forth. is it prizing that the george soross are staying on the sidelines given where the republican field is? >> there's not a shortage of welt wealthy y on the list. but i do not think it's a big problem for him. it gives indications for soros to say why he is not satisfied with the president, but i think the president will do well with fundraising. >> president's super pac raised $59,000 last month and karl rove
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raised $5 million, that is a big difference. >> that is a big difference. i think there's real concern on the democratic side about money, i imagine the president, it's not like he is going to be incredibly disadvantaged but i think there's more terin terms fundraising, there's more energy on the democratic side and -- >> the republican side? >> yes, excuse me. the thing you saw about soros and not getting invited, this was a problem with the white house in terms of a donor base, the president does not do a lot of donor maintenance, you have to include soros in that, even if it's under the guise of policy. and number two, i think i lost my second point. >> donor maintenance though -- >> it's a good thing. >> isn't it more than donor maintenance, there's a narrative out there that he is under the thumb of radical leftist george
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soros, it seems like the president may say, i don't want to be seen going toe to toe with george soros. >> he is a class in his own right. he was really put out there by glenn beck and i think the white house made a decision to not be seen paling around with him. >> he is one person, and there's other rich democrats. >> the open society institute which he single handedly funds, is a multi-billion dollar organization that does incredible work around the globe and works with groups as small as of five to thousands. to say he is a radical character. >> i'm not saying -- the other question is the financial services industry, that industry is the game in big donations. >> that was my second point, thank you. >> and obama owned them in 2008
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and he will not own them in the same way now, they will back him to cover their bets because they do not want to be on their losing side and they always split their money but that money will go to republicans. >> the republicans have a big advantage because they know who they are running against, not who they are running with, as soon as there's a republican standing there and a name and face and policies and things, you'll see donors get to president's band wagon. >> it has been the unsettled republican field hurting obama this way. it's people on his side that cannot wait for there to be a face and name to blast everywhere so they can target and focus. >> we have two polls released today showing the head to heads, obama is at 46% and romney at 44% and obama at 47% and santorum 44%. i think the white house would
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love to battle santorum. >> not a close call at all. the white house stories have been that they have been looking at santorum's record that, is insane. >> do you think the white house put that out as a head fake? >> i do think so. >> you think -- i think the democrats would love to run against santorum. i think they feel they would take the house back. they feel he would be a terrific person to run against, the idea that it's racheting up because they are getting prepped early is silly or hard to take seriously. >> the white house will run different campaigns against romney or santorum. so what their campaign looks like is up in the air as long as the contest is up in the air too. it helps because he does not have to spend as much money in the general election. >> if that satan question comes to the floor, something tells me that the democratic voter base
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will get beggined up. nato's latest response and what it means for the u.s. military efforts, that is next on "now."
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welcome back time for what now, more deadly protests are breaking out in afghanistan over the burning of copies of the koran by nato personnel, we know that it was said yesterday, we have been dieing along side the afghans for a long time, because we believe them and these are isolated incidents and sends his apologies and will move quickly to correct it. seven people have been killed so far, and 30 injured, the u.s. embassy is on lock down, we are obviously doing damage control
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internationally at this point. how much does this hurt the broader mission of america's mission in the middle east, anyone? >> it doesn't help. i mean, it's like one of these things where you have military personnel that is running around a country that is not their own, and dumb things will happen p i'm not sure what the long-term consequences will be. >> we did a discover of the kill team that group of soldiers that went out and killed civilians and mutilated their corpses for sport and that got less protest than the koran burning did. even in those countries that were invaded people feel that there's a fog of war, that soldier will get hurt and they know. that this is about disrespect. this is about family values. this is about deeply held believes that they feel are being desicrated and strikes a,
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cord. so people take to the streets over it because they care deeply about it. >> thousands of people have been protesting. the telegraph reports that demonstrators are chanting death to obama and death to america in afghanistan. as we talk about violence in the middle east, it surprises me that syria and what is happening is not being covered to a greater degree. one of journalists that were killed in homs, the opposition strong hold, we hear about journalists, it's been a rough couple of years for journalists, the media coverage of it and response is surprising, given where we were with libya and egypt. >> i do not days agree with
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that. >> if you talk about libya, you have to ask what is the justifiation for acting or not acting. >> it's sort of the question of what is syria's defense capability? the governments are not respondsing because they just don't want to, it's a question of what they think can be achieved and it's scary. there has been a lot of great journalism on it, it may not have gotten the buzz but there have been brave reporters doing incredible things to get the story out. the syrian government is not doing anything to protect journalists. >> and it's difference with russia and china's involvement. >> and obstructionism at the u.n. security council. i mean talking about looking forward to 2012 and the question
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marks that remain for the president, but foreign policy, you look at what is happening around the world, this could be a major campaign issue, but tonight in the debate, this likelihood that they discuss the middle east or foreign policy, i think the candidates have skated by about america remaining number one. >> it and not fit into a partisan frame, so they are not sure how to process it. you saw santorum put out a statement saying sort of applauding obama for finally making a statement on seer yarks because it does not fit ft frame, it does not end up figuring in the debates and people have realized that what candidates say during campaigns doesn't necessarily get refle reflected in what they do when they are in office. >> that is true with everything though. you are talking about very serious things unless the candidates are getting foreign policy briefings in a detailed way, they are not in a position
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to answer the question. that is not necessarily acceptable but that is why they are not talk bigot. >> if you are talking about the republican party, they do not know where they stand on foreign policy right now. ron paul is isolationists and you have others that are hawkish in their beliefs, think they have a hard time coming out with a strategy as parts of the world are destabilized. that is a mouthful to end the show on. that is all for "now" i'll see you back mere tomorrow at noon, 9:00 a.m. pacific. i'll be joined by former new york governor, and deputy mayor of new york city, until then follow us on the good old twitter, "andrea mitchell reports" is next. hello, andrea. >> thank sos much. and dualing tax plans, president obama tries to big foot mitt romney, coming out with his own
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plan. we will have gene spurri ling t explain and massachusetts governor patrick right here. and a sneak preview of tonight's "rock center" with brian williams, he will be here with his big interview the author charles murray and the polls from michigan and arizona, the koran controversy and remeering thos kilin syria today. all that next. the employee of the month isss... the new spark card from capital one. spark miles gives me the most rewards of any small business credit card. the spark card earns double miles... so we really had to up our game. with spark, the boss earns double miles on every purchase, every day. that's setting the bar pretty high.
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>> right now on "andrea mitchell reports" the tax plans cometh, president obama and mitt romney try to one-up each other with dualing plans. romney adviser jim talent and from the white house gene spurling, romney and santorum are just about tied in

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